PLAB Exam - Dates, Application, Syllabus, Fees, Cost, Results

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Sristy Sharma
Updated on Jun 07, 2022 04:11 PM IST

The PLAB exam is UK’s entrance exam for foreign medical graduates. All the international medical graduates who wish to practice medicine in the UK can refer to this guide to learn all about the PLAB exam. 

PLAB Exam - Dates, Application, Syllabus, Fees, Cost, Results

The PLAB exam is a common topic of discussion among all those medical students who wish to practice medicine in the UK. This is especially true for those who have received their medical education from countries other than the UK, EEA, or Switzerland.

Every year, thousands of Indian doctors look forward to practising medicine in the UK  while being clueless about the defined process. With no adequate knowledge, students might even have to jump through additional hoops to be able to become a doctor in the UK. 

So, to give a clear idea, here is everything you need to know about the PLAB exam.

What is PLAB Exam?

Put simply, the  PLAB exam is a two-level medical entrance aptitude exam in the UK.

Like every other country, the UK also has its own system for overseas doctors willing to practice medicine in UK. GMC or General Medical Council, the UK agency which oversees the maintenance of the system and also making of rules, standards, recruitment, and other authorised functions, conducts a test for all those medical graduates who have completed their education from anywhere except the UK, EEA (European Economic Area), and Switzerland. 

The exam is used to ensure that the medical aptitude of the graduate is in accordance with the UK’s Health and Medical system requirements. This test is called PLAB or The Professionalism and Linguistic Assessments Board test.

The test is used to ensure that no medical practitioner in the UK serves substandard or ignorant medical assistance to the general public.

Purpose of PLAB Exam

The purpose of the UK’s PLAB exam can be outlined as follows:

  • Maintenance of Health and Medical System: GMC is responsible to keep the Health and Medical System of the UK as per the rules and standards that have been devised for the system. In ensuring that all the medical practitioners, who are allowed to be a part of the system, have a basic aptitude in regard to their role, the body ensures that the standards and system are maintained as intended.

  • Recruitment of Excellent Talent: It is not possible that all medical students could only be honed in UK, EEA, or Switzerland. However, the system does have a good reputation and remuneration available for the medical practitioners working in the system. The test can be used to recruit excellent and talented medical graduates from around the world into the system.

  • Tracking Medical Practitioners: The absence of a tracking system can only lead to chaos. No organisation will be able to properly track the practitioners working for the system without a proper system in place. The test acts as the entry point where medical graduates provide their information and on their successful selection GMC knows who all are now part of their system.

The Base for Licensing: If a medical graduate successfully clears the PLAB exam, GMC can use the performance of the graduate as proof of their medical competency. On the basis of this proof, a practising license can be issued directly to the candidate.

What does medical practice in the UK mean for you? Consult experts about how you can benefit from the PLAB exam and a medical license in the UK.

Consult Experts about Medical Practice in UK!

Overview of PLAB Exam

Overview of PLAB exam presented here summarises all the important and relevant information about the exam:

Parameters

Description

Official Name of PLAB

The Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board Test

Stream

Medical

Testing Authority

General Medical Council, UK

Parent Country

UK

Type of Exam

Aptitude Test

Exam Duration

3 hours

Number of Questions

180

Question Type

Multiple-Choice

Total Fees (April 2022 onwards)

GBP 1153

Passing Rate 2021 (PLAB 1)

74.1%

Passing Rate 2021 (PLAB 2)

69.6%

Other Countries Conducting PLAB

Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan UAE

PLAB Exam Dates and Deadlines

PLAB exam dates and deadlines are announced in advance by GMC. This practice allows the agency to have absolute control over the process as well as allow the interested candidates time to prepare and apply for the exam.

PLAB exam dates and deadlines for the year 2022 have been summarised in the table below:

Exam Dates 2022

Registration Deadline

UK

Overseas

February 17, 2022

February 3, 2022

February 3, 2022

May 26, 2022

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

August 11, 2022

July 28, 2022

June 30, 2022

November 3, 2022

October 20, 2022

September 22, 2022

PLAB Exam Centres in India

PLAB exam centres in India are among the highest number of overseas locations for the exam. No other country has been allowed this many test centres for conducting the exam.

PLAB 1 Exam Centres in India

PLAB Part 1 exam centres in India include the following cities:

  • Bangalore

  • Chennai

  • Hyderabad

  • Kolkata

  • Mumbai

  • New Delhi

PLAB 2 Exam Centres in India

PLAB Part 2 exam centres in India are not available. The reason is that GMC conducts Part 2 of the exam only in the UK. There are two GMC operated assessment centres set aside in Manchester, UK, for conducting PLAB Part 2 exam.

Eligibility Criteria for PLAB Exam

Eligibility Criteria for the PLAB exam lists all the minimum requirements, or conditions, that an applying medical graduate needs to satisfy to get their application accepted for the test. The eligibility criteria for the PLAB exam require that the applying medical graduate:

  • has a primary medical qualification in allopathy.

  • the primary medical qualification must have been earned in a duration of three years, with at least 5,500 hours of study involved.

  • must have done clinical rotations of acceptable duration as part of the primary qualification.

  • clinical rotation must have included exposure to medicine and surgery.

  • clinical rotations were overseen or approved by the institution attended.

  • clinical rotation formed a part of the overall programme of study.

  • evidence of English language knowledge.

GMC accepts the qualification which has been awarded by more than one institution, provided:

  • other institution(s) is a part of a recognised twinning programme, OR

  • other institution(s) is a recognised campus of other institution(s), OR

  • was not possible to complete the qualification at one institution for justifiable reasons.

GMC maintains a World Directory of Medical Schools which include all the institutions whose medical graduates shall be considered for the test. The graduates of unlisted institutions may be accepted if the reason behind exclusion is:

  • Country is not recognised by the UN, OR,

  • Institution does not exist anymore but the qualification is valid, OR

  • Institution does not provide medical education anymore but the qualification is valid.

GMC has a list of institutions whose qualifications are not accepted by the agency due to conflicts in past assessments. No Indian institute has been included in this list.

Note: GMC may time and again issue notifications regarding the change in PLAB eligibility criteria.

Already know where you want to practice? Learn from study abroad experts how MBBS from UK can help you in your medical career.

Consult Experts about MBBS from UK!

How to Apply for PLAB Exam

Given below are the steps in detail for Indian students to apply for PLAB exam:

Step 1: Open GMC Online Account

PLAB exam application requires candidates to go to the official site of GMC and create an online account on this site. The registration shall generate login credentials that can be used to revisit the site.

Step 2: Provide the Required Details

On the online GMC account, candidates have to provide all the information including personal details, academic background, academic qualifications, medical qualifications, practical training details, etc. The candidates have to ensure that they provide all the required information on the account itself.

Step 3: Get Verified

GMC shall go through the information provided and if the eligibility criteria and other requirements are satisfied they will mark the details and account as verified.

Step 4: Book a Place for PLAB Part 1

Once verification is received, the candidate will book a place for PLAB Part 1 exam. They can choose the countries and the test locations available in those countries at their convenience.

Step 5: Attempt PLAB Exam

Once the application is finalised, the candidate has to prepare for the exam and attempt it on the directed or booked date.

PLAB Exam Fees

PLAB exam fees are announced in advance by GMC just like dates and deadlines. Here is a list of PLAB exam fees announced by GMC for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years:

PLAB Exam Registration Fee

Fees Amount (GBP)

April 1, 2022 onwards

April 1, 2021 - March 31, 2022

PLAB Exam Part 1

247

240

PLAB Exam Part 2

906

879

PLAB Exam Cancellation Fee

Fees Amount (GBP)

April 1, 2022, Onwards

April 1, 2021 - March 31, 2022

Part 1: over 42 days before exam

24.70

24

Part 1: less than 42 days before exam

247

240

Part 2: over 42 days before exam

90.60

87.90

Part 2: between 42 and 28 days before exam

453

439.50

Part 2: less than 28 days before exam

906

879

PLAB Exam Pattern

PLAB conducts the exam in two parts. The applicants have to clear PLAB Part 1 exam to be able to appear for PLAB Part 2 exam.

PLAB Part 1

PLAB Part 1 exam pattern is summarised as:

PLAB Part 1 Exam Pattern Highlights

Description

Type of Exam

Objective

Type of Questions

Multiple-choice

Number of questions

180

Test Duration

3 hours

PLAB Part 2

PLAB Part 2 exam pattern can be highlighted as:

PLAB Part 2 Exam Pattern Highlights

Description

Type of Exam

Skill Application; Clinical

Type of Questions

Practical Application and Verbal

Number of questions

16 scenarios

Test Duration

8 minutes per scenario

PLAB Exam Syllabus

PLAB exam syllabus has not been declared. GMC, however, has clarified the skills tested by the test:

  • Topics and skills matching situations faced by doctors starting the second year of UK Foundation Programme Training.

  • Data gathering, technical, and assessment skills.

  • Clinical management skills, include formulating a diagnosis, explaining something to a patient, and formulating a management plan.

  • Interpersonal skills, like how to approach a station, establishing rapport with the patient, use of open and closed questioning, demonstration of professionalism, and understanding of ethical principles.

The exam is no manner an easy feat, however, it gives successful candidates an opportunity to be a part of one of the most reputed and highly qualified health and medical systems. The UK also has amazing remunerations for health professionals However, even in face of these benefits, we urge medical graduates to ensure that they take the decision of finalising their country of medical practice with utmost thought and sincerity. It will determine their whole life and service. 

If you find yourselves in need of guidance about the PLAB exam, or about medical practice or education, our study abroad experts can help you. You can connect with them by writing at abroad@collegedekho.com.

Learn How Foreign Medical Graduates Can Practice in India!

FAQs

What is PLAB full form?

PLAB full form is Professionalism and Linguistic Assessments Board. The test is an entrance aptitude test in the UK and is conducted by GMC, the medical system authority of the UK. The test is used to decide whether the candidate has enough aptitude, skills, and talent to practice as a medical practitioner in the UK.

Is PLAB a difficult exam?

Yes, PLAB is considered a difficult exam for appearing candidates. The passing percentage averages in the range of 60% - 65%. It is possible that this percentage improves for some years, and dips for others. PLAB requires test-takers to have skills to handle situations faced by doctors starting the second year of UK Foundation Programme Training.

What are PLAB exam dates?

PLAB exam dates for the year 2022 have already been announced by GMC. The dates are February 17, May 26, August 11, and November 3. All the exam dates have different registration deadlines and processes. Candidates can follow the instructions for registration. The registration deadlines for UK test centres and Indian test centres are different.

How much is the PLAB exam fee?

PLAB exam fee is charged separately for the Part 1 exam and Part 2 exam. This is because only passing candidates of Part 1 can register or attempt PLAB Part 2 exam. The registration fee for PLAB Part 1 is GBP 247, and for PLAB Part 2 is GBP 906. These amounts are applicable for registrations made after April 1, 2022.

How much is PLAB exam fee in India?

The PLAB exam fee in India is the same as PLAB exam fee in UK. GMC does not charge different fees from the nationals of different countries. Hence, the PLAB exam fee for Part 1 for Indians is GBP 247 or INR 24,044. Indian candidates successful in Part 1 shall have to pay GBP 906 or INR 88,193 for appearing in PLAB Part 2.

Is PLAB Exam fee tax deductible?

PLAB exam fees can become tax-deductible. HMRC, the income tax charging authority in the UK allows tax exemption on PLAB registration fee. However, candidates have to clear their PLAB exam to avail of the benefit. It is notable that tax saving is not possible in other countries. Tax deductibility of any expense is decided on the basis of how contributing it is to a nation and its resident citizens.

What is included in the PLAB exam syllabus?

PLAB exam syllabus is not announced directly by GMC in clear terms. However, there are certain guidelines that can help registered candidates prepare for the exam. On a general basis, the exam requires the test-takers to present data gathering skills, clinical management skills, and interpersonal skills. The skills must be enough to handle situations faced by doctors starting in the second year of UK Foundation Programme Training.

What are the requirements for PLAB exam eligibility?

There are a number of requirements for PLAB exam eligibility. The registering candidates must have completed primary medical qualifications of three or four years in allopathy. They must have done clinical rotation or training as part of this qualification, which must have required them to get exposed to medicine and surgery.

How many attempts are allowed in PLAB?

The number of attempts allowed in PLAB differs for the two parts of the exam. There is no limit on the number of attempts for PLAB Part 1, however, candidates can only appear for PLAB Part 2 exam four times. Once the candidate clears PLAB Part 1, they can attempt PLAB Part 2 four times. On failing for the fourth time, they will have to reappear for PLAB Part 1.

Are three months enough to prepare for PLAB 1?

Three months are not enough to prepare for PLAB Part 1. GMC recommends the preparation of eight to 16 months in order to appear for the test confidently and successfully. Candidates can rely upon dedication and hard work to prepare in four weeks, however, as per observation, at least four weeks must be denoted to prepare for the test.

What is the passing mark for PLAB 1 exam?

The passing mark for PLAB 1 exam is averaged in the range of 60% - 65%. On average, appearing candidates require a score of 120 and above to clear the exam. The success rate is about 33% of the appearing candidates. This means only one in three candidates is able to clear the exam and score the passing percentage.

What is the salary of a doctor in UK?

The salary of a doctor in UK is extremely high. General physicians or doctors in UK earn around GBP 50,000 - 80,000, while the specialist surgeons earn about GBP 81,000 - 92,000. These remunerations are based on annual figures and often increase with time and experience. Successful PLAB candidates can expect a bright and comfortable future in the UK.

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